No. 20 Northern Illinois (10-0 SU, 7-3 ATS) vs. Toledo Rockets (7-3 SU, 7-2-1 ATS)
College Football Week 13
Date and Time: Wednesday, November 20th, 2013, 8:00 pm EST
Where: Glass Bowl, Toledo, Ohio
by Badger, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: NIU-2.5/TOL +2.5
Over/Under Total: OFF
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The Northern Illinois Huskies will try and take another
big step forward in their bid to get back into the BCS Bowl party this year,
when they travel to the Glass Bowl to take on the Toledo Rockets
in their last true test of a game Wednesday night in primetime on ESPN2.
The Huskies, who currently sit just outside the at-large range of the BCS standings at No. 16, survived last weeks scare against Ball State, 48-27, scoring 14 points in the final minute and a half to turn a tight game into a runaway. But the Cardinals gave them a heck of a game, and the Huskies know it wont be as easy this week on the road at the Glass Bowl, so the challenge remains for the Huskies to stay focused for one more week this week, since they can coast against 1-10 Western Michigan in their finale next week.
Toledo looked like a team capable of pulling off the upset last week, for about three quarters, then a porous defense almost gave it all back in a, 41-31, win over Buffalo. The Rockets are a perfect 5-0 at home this season, and the primetime atmosphere will certainly provide the perfect-storm of conditions to prime the Rockets for a huge upset win over the Huskies.
If the point spread can be used as an indication for upset potential (which I wouldnt advise doing), than it looks like Toledo is getting more than a snowballs chance in this one from oddsmakers, with Northern Illinois opening up as 2.5-point favorites on the road. With a heavy majority of the early money on the Huskies (up to 70-80 percent), you can expect the number to move before kickoff.
As of press time, an over/under total has not yet been released.
Last week it took Huskies QB Jordan Lynch a few quarters to get going, but once he finally did get it going they finished with 569 yards of offense. Knowing how challenged the Toledo defense can get at times (allowing 28 ppg, 415 ypg), could add up to another big day for Lynch and the Huskies. The Rockets gave up 600 yards of offense to Buffalo last week, something they absolutely cannot do against Lynch and the Huskies.
But for the first time, except for maybe last week, the Huskies will have to deal with an offense thats almost as potent as they are between the stripes. The Rockets have their own senior quarterback in Terrance Owens and sit right behind Northern Illinois and Ball State in the MAC in just about every offensive category including yards (456 ypg) and scoring (35 ppg).
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Toledo will also have to chance the recent trend of Huskie domination over them if they hope to knock them off the MAC West throne. Northern Illinois has won three straight over the Rockets, and four of the last five going back to the 2008 season.
That domination has been on the field only though, since Toledo is actually 9-4 ATS in their last 13 head-to-head meetings with the Huskies (2-5 ATS at Toledo), and the underdog in this series is a solid 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings.
The best betting trend play could be the over, not only because its a MAC game where defense appears to be optional at times, but because the over is 4-0 in the Rockets last four home games and its 3-1-1 in the last four meetings between these two schools in Ohio.
Badger’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I expect the total to be 70-ish when it opens, but even that might not be high enough. I dont think Toledo can stop the Huskies, and Im not sure they can keep scoring with them either. If you can still get Northern Illinois below a field goal book it, otherwise there might not be any value in this game. I like the Huskies and the over, but Im not excited about it and may end up passing if the numbers climb too high too fast.
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